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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffNoiseCollector Date: Oct 21, 2008 9:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mp3 Conversion Question

MP3's are all but crap almost all the way up the sampling frequency. Even the good sounding ones when converted to wav and used in a mix will produce all kinds of artifacts in the mixdown because some information is missing and some is synthesized to fill the audible gaps in the frequency range.

Some people are still on dial up and would rather listen to a snippet before engaging in a mutli hour download. The flash player uses the lofi mp3 derivitave or at least it used to. I could have sworn if you did not derive it there was no player to preview but I could be wrong and they may have changed it.

Audiophiles who want the big files and full bandwidth can get theirs and the dial up and lofi tolerant ones can get the others. Does shwag weed lower the potency of hydroponic indica? I think not, connoisseurs will still buy their cush and crippie while budget minded folks will get their mid grades or regs. Unless you are cross breeding them and selling the seeds under false pretences, you are not degrading the gene pool.

Some audiophiles insist on 32 bit 196k sampling rates and stuff like that for mastering music. I would guess most folks here cannot hear above 16k anyway so 16 bit 44k (wav format) should be more than adequate (nyquist theory dictates that you need twice the rate as your highest frequency so 44k allows 22k- mosquito range- sound). I use 16 bit 44.1k to master but I have let some mp3's and lower bitrate and sampling rate stuff pollute my own sample folders and you can hear it plainly in the mix, especially if compressed again down to mp3.

Any compression rate that claims to be lossless is a myth by the way. The best compression codecs remove data, it may not be data you can discern easily with a human ear but it definitely is not the original file and sometimes that affects other frequecies timbres via harmonics. Even pristine CD quality recording is not technically lossless but if we make the standard the 16 bit 44.1k quality of an audio master, anything less than that is by default not lossless. It's impossible. You can zip a wav file and make it smaller but you have to unzip it to play it. That is a different form of compression altogether.

The very fact that most music is digital means we are not actually hearing the orignal ananolg sound that was produced, regardless of whether the source was analog or digital. The vibrating air molecules are fluid and analog, the recording of a binary approximation of millions of static snippets per second at the highest quality is still that. The ear and brain put all these grains back together and comprehend a fluid and moving sound. Analog was truer to lossless in theory but added quite a bit of noise and could not capture the entire spectrum.

So master your stuff as hot as possible without clipping, compress wisely and just wait for the limitations in bandwidth and storage versus size and expense to diminish and we won't need compression at all.

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Poster: jglynn1.2 Date: Oct 21, 2008 12:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mp3 Conversion Question

Doh

Hey NC I saw the residents live recently - was it lossy or lossless? I can't tell because I have wax in my ears.

P.S. The show was a blaxst in a little tiny theater on 23rd & Lex NYC.

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Poster: kochman Date: Oct 21, 2008 11:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mp3 Conversion Question

I would love to get one of these guys who swears he can tell the difference between lossless and 320kbps in a "hearing" test, like a blind taste test from the old soda commercials.

But as one of the above put it, MP3 is vastly popular because it is a good system.

Again, never ever convert MP3 to Lossless...

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Poster: WHARFRAT Date: Oct 21, 2008 11:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mp3 Conversion Question

kochman, If listening to songs on a computer or mp3 player
your not gonna hear the difference. On a high end stereo
system you can hear the difference. Take a show and burn to cd
both lossless and mp3. You will here the difference. vbr mp3's top out at a bit rate of 320 kbps. While Flac and shn files are at a bit rate 1411 kbps.

And like it's been said never convert mp3 to lossless.
You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

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Poster: spacedface Date: Oct 21, 2008 12:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mp3 Conversion Question

Most people don't have sterophile equipment or even good headphones for their audiophile-capable (flash) iPods.

I have some poor / low-tech friends and I've label MP3/lossless discs accordingly. The 256k MP3s sound great through aging stereos even if played through a cheap DVD player. The Archive's been a boon to them too, without much effort on my part.

This post was modified by spacedface on 2008-10-21 19:34:24

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Poster: kochman Date: Oct 21, 2008 4:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mp3 Conversion Question

For the record, I have a great stereo system... with Bose speakers.

I would just like to conduct the test to put the controversy to bed once and for all...

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: Oct 22, 2008 3:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mp3 Conversion Question

Hey Kochman! My 2 cents:

320 sure sounds better than 128 or 192. Still, it sounds a bit smoother and simpler than lossless. But even on a really good stereo, I need to listen closely to pick out the lost details. I've never done a blind test of that, largely because blind tests are really tiring and kind of cumbersome to arrange. Also, there's often not one particular difference so much as a more natural sound and a better sense of space in the lossless.

What you most want to listen for is not the tones themselves so much as the timbre of the instruments, the separation between sounds, and the ambient noise. It's clearest on acoustic recordings.

That said, even decent sounding non-commercial SBDs have been subtly distorted enough at one or another stage in their history that I wouldn't be eager to use them as test material to distinguish 320 from lossless. I'd start with a nice commercial release from the 70s, or maybe Wake of the Flood.

Most FLACs compress to 550-700kbps, so 320 has about half as much information, which isn't that far away considering the efficiency of mp3 compression.

Bose speakers are more mid-fi than hi-fi, though still a hell of a lot better than the crappy equipment most people listen with these days.

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Poster: tigerbolt Date: Oct 21, 2008 2:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mp3 Conversion Question

kochman i can't tell the difference really in a car,ipod or computer speakers but on a nice home stereo system after converting the flac/shn files to wave files it's like night and day HUGE difference in audio quality,amazing what a good system picks up.also 24 bit is the future and is slowly catching on.i had the pleasure of hearing american beauty 24 bit version that mickey hart did years ago and it was heaven like having garcia sitting next to you and playing his martin just for you,i urge everyone to buy that and go to a high end audio store and tell the salesperson that you want to try out a 24 bit cd on one of their system you'll be amazed and hope mickey does anthem of the sun and others in the near future.here's the setup i'm saving up for,my buddy has this rig and music never sounded so better.outlaw audio and klipsch speakers are great for a mid level systemPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket.
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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffNoiseCollector Date: Oct 21, 2008 4:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Mp3 Conversion Question

I can here it in a mix, let's say I have a guitar track recorded direct to disk and a bass track rendered from a softwar synth direct as well. I can take a VBR or other "high" quality drum track or samples that sound good enough to my ears, but when trying to mix them into a mix of higher quality audio, frequencies drop out and when mixed down artifacts created by aliasing make the cymbals disapear. Or you get that dreadful metal sound.

Sometimes I can hear the artifical harmonics present as well. It's not actually the missing frequencies but how the missing frequencies phase out or flavor the fundamental tones.

VBR's for day to day listening in a car stereo are fine but if you are headphone audiophile uncompressed is best.